Assumpció Puig: “Energy rehabilitation is a strategy that addresses the challenge of reducing greenhouse gases”

The dean of the Association of Architects of Catalonia called for all the players involved to work together, at a seminar during which representatives of Barcelona City Council and the Catalan government pledged to take advantage of renewable energy in housing rehabilitation.

“Energy rehabilitation is a strategy that addresses the challenge of reducing greenhouse gases.” The Dean of the Association of Architects of Catalonia, Assumpció Puig, made these statements at the “Energy rehabilitation: from political strategies to practice” seminar organised by the Naturgy Foundation, in collaboration with the Association of Architects, and held in Barcelona today.

Puig stressed issues such as the importance of reducing heat losses and energy expenditure, which in Spanish households amounts on average to almost one thousand euros, half of which goes on heating. “This could be drastically reduced with good insulation, which would also minimise pollutant emissions.” “We need to teach people about rehabilitation,” she added.

She also asserted that “energy rehabilitation is a key element for the future of our building” work but there are still important challenges to solve. She appealed to all the players involved: “From a sectoral, institutional, economic, social and citizen point of view, we have to build structures that adapt to present and future needs in order to fight against inequalities and generate opportunities.”

For his part, the Catalan government’s Director-General of Energy, Industrial Safety and Mining Safety, Pere Palacín, said that “the approval of the regulation on urgent measures for the energy transition, which will favour energy rehabilitation through the use of renewable energies, giving way to a more sustainable system, is being studied”. “We are facing a climatic emergency. Therefore, we must look for, find and apply certain measures in building that will enable us to create new, more efficient structures,” he stated.

In turn, Miquel Rodríguez, the commissioner for Agenda 2030 and representative of Barcelona City Council, highlighted public-private collaboration in the field of energy rehabilitation, given “the innovation capacity of the private sector for putting forward new solutions”. He said that energy rehabilitation is part of the current economic model and proposed taking advantage of renewable energies.

The Director General of the Naturgy Foundation, María Eugenia Coronado, stated that energy rehabilitation is one of the keys to improving the energy efficiency of buildings, “which represent around 40% of energy consumption and more than 30% of CO2 emissions in the EU”. She also reiterated that one of the fundamental projects in which the foundation participates is the rehabilitation of buildings for families at risk of social exclusion, with the aim of improving their quality of life and reducing their energy bills.

The Green Building Council Spain’s delegate in Catalonia, Eulalia Figuerola, explained that Spain is reviewing the long-term strategy for energy rehabilitation in the building sector. Figuerola recalled that “buildings play a major role in the 2050 European Decarbonisation Strategy, as they are responsible for more than 31% of emissions”.

In his contribution, Jordi Amela, technical director of the Barcelona Metropolitan Area Housing Consortium (CMH), explained that the institution he represents has the challenge of rehabilitating 300,000 homes per year with an average investment of €15,000 per housing unit. In that regard, he stressed that the main barriers to this project are “the structure of property and family incomes, and technical, management and economic impediments”.

Rehabilitation case studies 

Four case studies on improving energy efficiency in buildings were also presented during the seminar. One of the projects presented was the ‘GrowSmarter Project: Stockholm, Cologne and Barcelona’, in which Naturgy participates. Lisa Ennarson, head of the Planning and Environment Department at Stockholm City Council, and Gustaf Landahl, the GrowSmarter coordinator, explained that this project aims to apply technologies focused on citizen empowerment, economic savings and emission reduction in smart cities. In Barcelona, Naturgy is developing new technologies in the energy rehabilitation of residential and tertiary buildings, energy management in the home, and the integration of distributed generation in urban environments.

Luiskar Delgado, managing director of Sestao Berri 2010, explained how the EU-Gugle project has rehabilitated an area of almost 20,000 m2 in the Txabarri-El Sol area and brought about a change of mentality among the people there, for whom energy-saving devices mean greater comfort and greater autonomy in building energy management

Jordi Ayats, who manages HolaDomus, a consortium of 8 public and private European companies within the framework of the EuropPACE project, funded by the European Commission, explained that "the aim is to boost energy efficiency and renewable energy in housing, and improve the welfare of families through more comfortable, healthy and environmentally-friendly homes”.

For his part, Miguel Ángel García, from the CARTIF Strategy and Business Development Department, explained the Remourban Project in Valladolid. “The FASA-Delicias neighbourhood has become a district of almost zero energy consumption, where the rehabilitation of its 20 residential buildings and the installation of a heat network system based on renewables has reduced the consumption of its 24,000m2 by 32% and cut CO2 emissions by 90%,” he said.

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